Tips for Saving on Your Child’s School Supplies

School supply shopping is an activity you may dread because school supply costs seem to increase with each passing year. If you are on a fixed income or a strict budget, then obtaining everything your child needs while remaining on that budget can be difficult. When you are shopping for school supplies for multiple children, sticking to your budget may be even more stressful. However, there are many ways in which you can reduce those costs without sacrificing the needs of your child. In fact, there are certain items which you can obtain for free. Planning ahead is essential if you want to minimize your spending and even pick up some free items leading up to the first day of school. Below are several tips that can keep your school shopping from draining your bank account.

Focus on Purchasing Essential School Supplies First

When you are back-to-school shopping, it can be easy to buy items because they are on sale or because your child wants them. You may suddenly find your school shopping funds are gone before you can purchase other essential items like backpacks and clothing. Always write down a list of essential items needed for school and purchase those items early on. If there is money leftover when you are done, then you can purchase extra.

Purchase Supplies Well Before the Start of School

Many parents shop for school supplies right before the school year starts, but you may be able to find better deals on certain items by shopping in the off season. When demand is low for certain items, such as school backpacks, prices on those items also tend to be low. Designate one closet or area in your home for school supplies and watch for them throughout the year. Spreading out your school supply shopping will also have the added benefit of not placing financial strain on your family all at once.

Use Discount Shopping Websites and Apps to Get Deals

There are many websites and apps that offer products at deep discounts. Many of them feature special back-to-school sales that can provide you with even better deals leading up to the start of the school year. Some discount shopping websites and apps also offer loyalty rewards you can trade in for gift cards credits to get free school supplies for your child.

Coupons, Loyalty Programs and Rebates

Many popular stores, including drugstores and dollar stores, offer loyalty programs, in-store deals and mail-in rebates. Many of those deals can be combined with standard coupons to lower your school supply costs. However, in order to get the best deals from those combined sources you must invest the time necessary to research and match active deals. It is also essential that you follow through by scanning your store receipts with your phone rebate apps or mailing rebate requests, as needed. Otherwise you will not receive the full benefit from such purchases.

Buy Used School Supplies When Doing So Makes Sense

You should purchase certain school supplies, like notebooks, brand new. However, many used schools supplies are perfectly suitable if they have already been used. These can include scissors, calculators and other items that are intend for repeat use. You can visit local flea markets and thrift stores to find deals on back to school essentials for your child.

Swap School Supplies with Other Families

Many of your neighbors, family members and friends may have closets full of perfectly good school supplies that their children no longer use. Take advantage of such items by asking your friends, family members or co-workers to swap school supplies with you. Also, use online forums and social media to exchange school supplies with a larger group of people, if necessary.

Network with Other Parents and Your Child's School

If you are still having difficulty staying within your budget while purchasing your child's school supplies, then ask for help. Other parents may have already found great deals on the products you need. They can direct you to websites or stores that are offering those deals. Alternatively, ask your child's school administrators to provide you with a list of resources that provide assistance. Many areas have organizations devoted to assisting children and families. Such organizations may be able to provide free or cheap school supplies for your child.